Looking for simple meals that you can feed your kids while you try to keep sane during this challenging time of unexpected working-from-home and homeschooling?
I know you have a lot on your plate right now.
You may find yourself working from home while homeschooling your kids whose schools have been closed … indefinitely.
Since everything is shut down, you don’t really have an escape. No coffee shop, no library … it’s even hard to find take-out.
Many of us are probably finding ourselves doing more cooking than we’re used to.
As a mom of six (ages 4-12) who’s worked from home since 2013, I know what it’s like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
I put together this list of our favorite simple recipes – that the kids will actually eat without
too much complaining.
As I meal plan, I try to mix things up, but these are the recipes I find myself returning to over and over.
So this is a reference for me as well as for you.
I hope it’s helpful!
Cook a big batch of chicken breasts in your slow cooker. Just put the breasts in the cooker, sprinkle with spices (I use salt, garlic powder, and onion powder), and pour some water (about halfway up the chicken) in the bottom. Cook on low or high until the chicken shreds easily with a fork. Super soft, and perfect to use in the following recipes:
- Chicken wild rice soup is a family favorite. I’ve been making this recipe for years. Make a big batch so you can have it for leftovers. We like to serve it with this homemade banana bread.
- Grape chicken salad. I just mix the cooked chicken with chopped apples, sliced grapes, and chopped celery (if I have it). I sprinkle it with salt, garlic powder, and onion powder, and mix it with plain yogurt until everything is lightly covered. We eat it with crackers. (Serve with chopped nuts on the salad if you want.)
- Mexican chicken pinwheels. Mix about a pound of shredded chicken with a few ounces of shredded cheese. Add some salsa and 8 ounces of cream cheese. (This is not a perfect science; just add the amounts that look right to you.) Then spread it on tortillas, roll up, and eat. You can follow this recipe if you prefer more specific directions.
- Chicken burrito bowls. Full disclosure – this is not my kids’ favorite, but I have no idea why. I mix some of the shredded chicken with taco seasoning. Each kid gets a bowl of rice with chicken on top. They add toppings like cheese, black beans, corn, pico de gallo, sour cream, etc. Yum!
Other chicken recipes
- Chicken fingers. This one takes a bit longer, but without that commute a lot of us have a little more time. Just cut up chicken breasts into thin slices, dip in a beaten egg (mixed with salt and spices if you prefer), and dip in another bowl with crushed corn flakes, bread crumbs, or cracker crumbs. Bake at 400 about 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway. Serve with cooked potatoes and veggies.
- White chicken chili is a favorite of my kids. I love it because you dump everything in the slow cooker and let it cook. Start with 3-4 chicken breasts. Add a can of corn, 8 oz cream cheese, 2 cans of white beans, a chopped onion, and some spices. I use about 2 teaspoons of chili powder, some garlic, a teaspoon of cumin, and a teaspoon of oregano. Finally, add 32 ounces of chicken broth and cook on low for 6-8 hours. We eat it with sour cream and tortilla chips.
Ground beef recipes
Cook up a big batch of ground beef. You can use it in these recipes. Freeze what you don’t plan to use this week.
- Tacos. Mix ground beef with homemade taco seasoning (I keep a big batch of this recipe) and serve in taco shells or flour tortillas.
- Taco salad. Top lettuce with the taco meat, chopped peppers and/or tomatoes, cheese, black beans, and/or corn. Serve with chips and sour cream.
- Spaghetti. Make a big batch so you have leftovers.
- Cheeseburger wraps. Mix at least a pound of cooked hamburger with some shredded cheese and ketchup. Put inside tortillas, roll up, and secure with toothpicks. Cook on a griddle until crispy. Not the most nutritious meal, but a family favorite (especially when served with frozen french fries).
- Chili. Find your favorite recipe and make a big batch. Serve it with corn muffins. This is our family muffin recipe.
- Beef fried rice. Not a favorite of everyone in the family, but so easy this mom doesn’t care. It’s best if you cook the rice in advance. Warm the rice in a little oil. Then add the cooked ground beef and a couple of scrambled eggs. Finish with low sodium soy sauce and you’ve got a meal.
- Bean and cheese quesadillas. I just put refried beans and shredded cheese between two tortillas and warm on the griddle. I slice them up into triangles, and we eat with salsa and sour cream.
- Grilled cheese. ‘Nuff said.
- Macaroni and cheese. From the box. For days when you just.can’t.even.
- Pancakes. This is not my favorite thing to make, but my almost 13-year-old daughter loves to do it all from start to finish. A good project for an older tween or a teenager.
- Easy breakfast casserole. Cook about a pound of ground breakfast sausage. Mix with 10 whisked eggs, a cup of milk, and about 2 cups of shredded cheese. Pour all into a square greased baking dish and bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. So easy and good.
I hope this helps you as you manage life during this challenging season!
My kid literally hates chicken. He won’t eat anything he can see chicken meat in. I don’t know what to do about it. I try not to tell him what the meal is made of, but every day he gets more and more selective in his food choices. I’m almost desperate.
For me, cooking is a constant problem! I sometimes do not have time to cook for a family of four, and you as a mother of six children do a great job.
My kids rarely eat food that isn’t freshly cooked. More precisely, they don’t eat the same meal again two days in a row. That’s why I have to stand by the cooker at least twice a day every day. It’s exhausting. That’s why I’m always happy with simple and useful new recipes. Thank you!!!
Thanks so much for sharing. Love the recipes; so tired of mine…same old ones! Love your ideas and your creativity!
You have been a God send!
Hi from Western Australia we are also staying in except for essential shopping. Us over seventies have been advised not to go out at all so I may well try some of your recipes just for a distraction. I have tried baking bread but ended up with “Lead Bread” Thanks for your school resources many of which I have printed off for my granddaughter as home schooling is happening here too. Your resources are really amazing.
This is so awesome of you!! Thank you thank you thank you!! The recipe ideas are going to help so much too, especially to break things up and not do the same thing all the time!!
I am planning on trying the chicken chili tomorrow but here’s an easy recipe:
1lb ground beef, 2 cans Rotel , 2 cans black beans, 2 cans corn, 1 pkg Ranch, 1 pkg taco seasoning
Brown meat in pot, add all 6 cans undrained into pot with meat, add the ranch and taco. I add a cup of water. Cook 20-30 minutes and have shredded cheddar to top it . We serve with mini cornbreads.
Thank you, Ronda! I’ve made something like this in the past and should do so again! So delicious!
You are amazing….so giving, so caring! I am…so grateful!
Bless you & your family!
Kris & Peter
Morning from Peter and Kris in New Zealand, We have been in lock down for a week now. We are allowed to go out for exercise as long as we stay two metres away from others. Supermarket trip tomorrow so think we will try your Chicken chilli in the crockpot. Love a good slow cooker meal.
Thanks for the recipe ideas : )
Thank You for all your posting. What a blessing you are to so many people. Hod Bless You and Your Family.
Thank you so much for sharing! We are all in this together. I appreciate you.
I make this “Rice and Peas” for my 9 picky picky little grandchildren, and even the pickiest will eat it! Wash/rinse 1 1/2 c. rice (I usually use parboiled). Put in pot with 3 c. water. (Broth if you have it). While it’s heating up, I mix 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, 1/4 tsp. black pepper. (Mix well to dissolve everything. ) When the rice starts to boil, I stir the oil mixture in, cover, low heat, and set the timer for 18 min. When it’s done, I stir in about 1 c. frozen peas.
It’s also good with grated cheese added, or a little butter…
Sounds delicious, Christine! Thank you for the recipe!
I just want you to know that I want to cheer you on, too! Your generosity, kindness, intelligence, and creativity are a blessing to so many families and teachers! God bless you and keep you and all your family in His care:). Mary
Thank you for your deep generosity, Anna. Such a blessing! Gretchen and many other fans
Emma T Guevara
Thanks for the awesome recipes, I have to say that I’m very lucky because my husband is the cook of the home!!!
Thanks a lot and please be safe!
Thanks for sharing the recipes! Need to change it up!!! Looking forward to sharing some ideas with my families in the coming weeks please continue to keep yourself and your family safe during these uncertain times.